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Into The Badlands Series Finale: AMCs “Insane” Series Pulls No Punches

On paper, the martial-arts epic Into the Badlands is a show so unconventional that its creators were shocked that AMC wanted to make it. “We would have bet against it, for sure,” co-creator Miles Millar said Monday, still sounding a bit surprised that the show actually made it to the air in November 2015. “The show ended up being the most satisfying experience of our career. We were given complete freedom. Its been amazing because, you know, the show is insane.”

Millars writing and producing partner, Al Gough, didnt agree with that — the show isnt “insane,” he says, it is in actuality “totally batshit crazy.” Whether the series has been genuinely bananas or just aggressively quirky, Into the Badlands gave up the ghost tonight after its 32nd episode closed out its third season.

The one-hour martial arts dramas overarching plot was built to follow the classic contours of its genre (with hallmarks that will feel familiar to anyone who has watched Kung Fu, the Kill Bill films, or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (or read manga like Lone Wolf and Cub). The series tells the tale of a warrior and a young boy who seek true enlightenment but, as these things often go, they will need to punch hundreds and hundreds of faces to find insight or inner peace.

Hero Nation LogoThe shows creators, Alfred Gough and Millar, are best known for creating Smallville, the longest-running, live-action DC Comics adaptation in television history. The writer-producer tandems credits also include the feature films Spider-Man 2 (2004) and I Am Number Four (2011). Much or most of their success has resulted from pulling genre properties toward the mainstream middle (and also re-attuning the story to connect with female audiences in a big way).

All of that was not the case with Into the Badlands, which found the tandem seeking the spiky edge instead of the safer center. To the ongoing astonishment of Gough and Millar, the executives at AMC never blinked or even rolled their eyes as they signed off on the maverick project which melded together a survival epic that was steeped in magic, martial arts, revenge vows, warlords, mystics, ninja, oaths, deceptions, puncture wounds, parenting, and duty. That made tonights series finale a bundle of conflicting emotions for a creative team that feels like they fought the good fight — well, except where ratings were concerned.

“When youre bringing a show to a close its always bittersweet because you build an incredible family with the writers, and with the actors, and with the crew,” Gough said. “But I think because we knew this was coming and we were able to end the show on the terms that we wanted to end it on, it feels like a complete story. And, you know, to be perfectly honest, the simple fact that AMC allowed us to make this batshit crazy show in the first place is a gift. So we are extremely grateful, too.”

The ensemble cast has been lead by talented newcomer Daniel Wu in the role of Sunny, Nick Frost as Bajie, Aramis Knight as M.K., Emily Beecham as The Widow, Orla Brady as Lydia, Ally Ioannides as Tilda, Lorraine Toussaint as Cressida, Sherman Augustus as Moon, Babou Ceesay as Pilgrim, Ella-Rae Smith as Nix, and Lewis Tan as Gaius.

In the end, the finale, “Seven Strike as One,” found Sunny and Bajie fighting valiantly against overwhelming numbers. Gough and Millar had flirted with different endings but in the final analysis they let Wus young character find the destiny that made the most sense. He sacrifices himself to save others. “It felt like the right ending,” Gough said. “Although in the end we did leave a door open when you see him in the afterlife with The Master…”

Sunny may live on and the same applies Into the Badlands. Millar said other shows have audiences that are larger but few have one louder. Thats why hes so optimistic that the shows future is brighter than its past. He said in this era of show-streaming and binge-watching, an outsider series like Into the Badlands with avid apostles can age like novels or bands with a cult-following — widening its audience over the years, not by the season.

“Yes, it is like a book on a shelf, exactly, and we think it will stand the test of time and were very proud of that,” Millar said. “Thats why were not bitter-twisted about this ending. It is soRead More – Source

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